Register of Deaths
The registrar maintains a register of deaths. Where a death occurs in the State, it is the duty of the deceased’s relative who has knowledge of the required particulars in relation to the death to notify the registrar of the death within three months using the form required.
If there is no such relative who can be found or every relative is incapable of complying with the obligation, each other qualified informant, unless he reasonably believes another qualified informant has complied with the obligation, must undertake the obligation.
A death may not be registered after 12 months without the consent in writing of the superintendent registrar.
The qualified informant is:
- a relative of the deceased who has the requisite knowledge
- a person present at the death
- if the death occurred in a building, any person in the building at the time
- if the death incurred in a hospital or institution, the person of any charge within the institution
- the person who found the body
- a person who takes charge of the body
- a person who procured disposal of the body
- any other person with knowledge of the death.
Notice to Attend
Where after three months, the death has not been registered due to non-compliance, the authority in whose area the death occurred may serve a notice on a person in any of the above categories requiring him or her to attend on the day specified, giving at least 10 days’ notice.
Upon attending, the person must give information, to the best of his knowledge and belief, of the required particulars relating to the death and sign the register relating to the death. The obligation does not apply if the death is registered in the meantime. Once a person complies with the obligation, the other persons are discharged.
Abroad & In Transit
The death of an Irish citizen domiciled outside the State may be registered if there was not, at the time of death, a system of registration of deaths in the place where the death occurred or if it is not possible to obtain copies and extracts of civil records of the death.
Regulations may provide for the registration of deaths occurring on aircrafts or ships. They may apply to an Irish aircraft or Irish ship or the death of an Irish citizen on board a foreign ship or aircraft travelling to or from the State. They may apply to the death of a member from An Garda Síochána or permanent Defence Forces or their family members outside the State while serving as such.
Cause of Death
On the death following an illness of a person who has attended a doctor, the medical doctor shall sign and give a qualified informant a certificate stating the cause of death to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief. This is to be given to the registrar by the qualified informant.
Location of Death
Where the body of a person is found on land and the place in which the death occurred is not known, the death is registered in the functional area concerned. Where it is found in a river, lake or waterway, it is registered in the place where it is brought ashore.
Coroner & Body
A coroner who has held an inquest may authorise a relative of the deceased, an undertaker, any other person who proposes to cause the body to be disposed of or any other person in charge of the funeral, to dispose of the body before registration.
He may authorise the disposal of a body irrespective of whether or not he has decided to hold an inquest. In this context, disposal means burial or cremation.
Where a coroner holds an inquest, adjourns the inquest or decides not to hold an inquest, he shall give the appropriate registrar a certificate concerning the particulars of death which shall be registered.
The 2019 Act provides for the inclusion of a family member as a qualified informant in the registration of a death where a coroner is involved. This will allow the family of the deceased to have a greater role in the registration process which, in some cases, may result in registration of a more complete set of particulars.
The 2014 Act amended the Civil Registration Act 2004 by providing for a wide range of issues relating to the registration of life events in the State.
A Superintendent Registrar may designate a registrar to perform the functions of a Superintendent Registrar where an absence occurs. An tArd-Chláraitheoir may, in exceptional circumstances, direct a Superintendent Registrar to register a birth without the qualified informant signing the register.
A child over 18 is listed as a qualified informant in relation to specific contexts.
The 2014 Act provides that cohabitants, persons nominated as next of kin by the deceased prior to death, personal representatives and religious superiors shall be considered qualified informants for the registration of a death.
The 2014 Act provides that it shall be the duty of a qualified informant to attend a registrar’s office to provide the required particulars of a death and to sign the register. The 2014 Act provides that an tArd-Chláraitheoir may, in exceptional circumstances, direct a Superintendent Registrar to register a death without the qualified informant signing the register.
Notification of early neonatal deaths
The 2014 Act provides that where a child born alive dies during the first 7 days of life (‘‘early neonatal deaths’’) that the death is notified to the Superintendent Registrar of the area where the death occurred.
The 2014 Act provides for a record of deaths of Irish citizens who die abroad while on holiday, while on temporary work contracts or during short term absences from the State.